What do you do when you have a desire to make films, but your country, Somalia, is still in re-building mode after years of violent conflict? You pack your sh*t, go to Kenya, and make those films– that’s what!
I’ve always admired the resilient spirit of Somalians, displaced by civil unrest, but who have still managed to build lives for themselves all over the globe. That’s what Eastleighwood Films co-founders Ahmed Shariff and Hassan Abdul have done in neighboring Kenya.
Named after the Somali neighborhood of Eastleigh, in the eastern suburbs of Nairobi, Eastleigh Films, Shariff tells Voice of America News, “hopes to change people’s impressions of Somali society. What has been dominant in the mass media outside was an image that represents a people that are violent and extremists, people who are starving to death. With Eastleighwood, what we want to show is the other side of the story,” he said. [VOA]
“We are trying [to] make Somali movies,” says Hassan, “talking about love, talking about culture, Somali culture, talking about the reality, the reality in Somalia.”
I like what they are doing, and truly hope they succeed. It’s all about baby steps. And as we’ve seen in other regions of Africa, those baby steps have the potential to lead to bigger and better things, in a short period of time.
Check out this clip of an Eastleighwood film I found on You Tube. It doesn’t have subtitles, but you can get a basic idea of what’s happening: